In Willa Cather’s story “Paul’s Case,” the main character Paul is a troubled young man, who is seeking an escape from reality. Paul’s way of escaping his troubled life is through a day dream. For the most part Paul’s safe place is in New York City. That is until Paul’s father comes looking for him. This is when Paul’s reality then takes form in his imaginary world.
If Paul uses an imaginary escape world to get away from his troubled life, then why does it include him committing suicide? I have one reason to explain his suicide. Before, Paul supposedly enters his imaginary world, the story leaves off with Paul sitting in the cellar of his house. At this point in time, Paul starts to wonder if his father heard him entering. In the darkness of the cellar, Paul fears that his father may think Paul is a burglar, and shot him. (pg. 127) The though of death and Paul’s senseless running from a troubled life collide. In result creating Paul’s suicide, when his father comes looking for him. I believe Paul’s suicide serves as an epiphany. Paul’s epiphany relates to his struggling life, and how he has more to live for than just music.
As a result of Paul’s epiphany, he begins to fade back into reality. As the audience, you are lead to believe that Paul was dreaming the whole time. The last sentence in the story “Paul dropped back into the immense design of things,” confirms the audience’s beliefs. (pg.133) Therefore I find it hard to believe that Paul ever actually traveled to New York. Due impart that Paul was a middle class kid from Pittsburg. Paul absolutely resented his lower and middle class upbringing. His resentment of his upbringing leads him to believe that New York is where the upper class lived. I find it hard to believe that he actually went to New York, because most of New York is slums.
I find it hardly plausible or even possible that Paul actually lived most of the story, but rather that he imagined it all. The first problem that comes to mind when believing the story is the fact that Paul was able to get away with smoking cigarettes and drinking wine publicly. Paul was but a teenager with large sums of cash. How is it that Paul was able to live such a luxurious life for as long as he did, without being questioned about anything?
The story “Paul’s Case,” was all about Paul seeking freedom from his personal life. Even though Paul was able to find some peace of mind, somehow his personal problems follow him into is dream land. Throughout Paul’s dream he encounters situations very similar to the ones he’s running from in reality. Nonetheless Paul can not escape his reality.